“The Politics of Care”
with Dr. Elías Aponte-Ortega
By Hierald Osorto
What does it mean to love hesed, as the prophet Micah charges us to do (6:8)? That’s what the Latino/a and African American students who organized the first HESED lectures in 2014 invited the Seminary to explore, and each year since students have collaborated to bring speakers to Austin Seminary who can expand our awareness of what that Hebrew word for justice, loving kindness, and mercy means for the church and the world today.
This year’s theme, “The Politics of Care,” raises questions about the ways we care for body, mind, and soul, and how harmful ideologies of race, gender, and class—not hesed—determine the scope and quality of such care. With healthcare debated on the national scene and legislation in the state capitol wrestling with what a healthy community does and does not mean, questions about care feel especially relevant these days.
The seminary community and people of faith in the Austin area are invited to come together to explore these questions on Friday and Saturday, March 31st and April 1st. Friday evening begins with worship in Shelton Chapel, where Dr. Elías Ortega-Aponte of Drew Theological School will preach. Saturday morning includes several workshop offerings for exploring environmental care, restorative justice, post-traumatic stress, and community-based health care. The afternoon will culminate in a panel discussion and a lecture from Dr. Ortega-Aponte.
The Hispanic Student Association and African American Student Group are proud to sponsor the fourth annual HESED lecture series, and to have Dr. Elías Aponte-Ortega as our keynote speaker. Dr. Aponte-Ortega is assistant professor of Afro-Latinos/as Religions and Cultural Studies at Drew Theological School in Madison, New Jersey, and received his PhD from Princeton Theological Seminary. His primary research interest is the study of how the intersections of race, religion, and experiences of inequalities lead Afro-diasporic communities in the United States and abroad to find ways to engage the challenges of urban poverty, incarceration, access to education, and adequate health care.
Interested in coming to the HESED lectures? Please register online at austinseminary.edu/HESED
Hierald Osorto, a middler student from Washington, D.C., is chair of the HESED planning committee.